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Using AIDA in your advertising

Updated on January 10, 2014


Considered a mantra by many marketers but badly implemented by most. AIDA is a process that all your advertising should follow. Strangely, many companies manage the first three letters of the acronym and then leave out the last one.

Attention – Interest – Desire – Action

A for Attention. With any advert, web page or other visual you have a few seconds to get the attention of your target customer. Especially on the web where people are so used to skimming pages for relevance before moving on to the next page grabbing their attention is paramount.

Flick through a magazine or news paper and notice the different ways the advertisers are trying to get you to look at their advert for more than a few seconds. In the better ones there will be a headline or an image that is mostly relevant to the people they are trying to sell to. In some you will notice the advert but quickly realise it is not for you and move on.

I for Interest. Once you have made people look you have to rope in the ones that are most likely to buy. Again you have a few seconds, 20 at most to get them really interested. This will be done with a few lines of text below the headline or towards the top left of the advert if you used an image as an attention getter.

Most people are not interested in specifications. They will be looking at your product or service because they have a need for something your product might be able to meet.

D for Desire. To create desire for your product among those you have hung onto this far you will have to appeal to the needs that have kept them reading so far. Understanding your prospects needs means doing some research. Ask existing customers why they bought your product. Drill down for details of what started them looking for the kind of product they got from your company.

This is your headline, or an image to catch people eye
You have maybe 10 seconds to get them interested our they are gone
Make them want what you are selling by telling them how it meets THEIR needs
Don't let them finish reading and move on, get them to take action in your direction

Meeting customer needs

Needs come in layers. A base need might be getting to work every day. The layers below that might include:

  • Comfort
  • Convenience
  • Speed

All these things could be provided by a bus, car, train or other form of transport. Your goal is to get to the needs that will bring people to your products. Once you understand their primary needs you can also set about making your product more desirable than those supplied by your competitors.

A for Action. This is the important bit. It is where you channel that new found desire into fulfilment. It is where you tell the reader what they need to do if they are going to become a proud owner of whatever it is you are selling. It is also the thing most companies don’t put on their web pages!

A good call to action will inspire the prospect to do something NOW. If you leave them to do it later they are likely to get sidetracked. Think of it as a bucket with a hole in the bottom. The longer you delay the more of the contents will have dribbled away.

Make a time limited offer. What you do will depend on where your advert is being placed. If it is in a newspaper there is a good chance that the reader cannot act immediately. If it is on a web page them don’t give them time to draw breath get them to click on something meaningful.

A NOW action has the best success rate assuming your Attention, Interest and Desire were good.

A call this number action will lose you a good portion of your prospects, people just don’t like making phone calls.

A fill in this form to get ‘something’ is a good action as long as the something is worth having.

Your Action is your trial close and will make the difference between great success and mediocrity. Test a number of different Actions to find out which works best for your target market.


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